19 Oct 2017
3:16 pm

His Majesty the King Maha Vajiralongkorn on Wednesday (Oct 18) granted an audience to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and other officials at the Dusit Palace and handed over to them a royal fire for the royal cremation ceremony to be held on Oct 26 in every province as well as in other countries.

The officials accompanying the prime minister included the permanent secretary for foreign affairs and the governors of Bangkok and 76 other provinces or their representatives.

HM the King handed over the royal fire to the prime minister, and a box containing the royal fire to the permanent secretary for foreign affairs.

The permanent secretary for foreign affairs is to deliver the box with the royal fire to the Thai embassies and consulates in various countries, where the royal cremation ceremony will also be held.

After the audience with HM the King, Gen Prayut brought the royal fire to Government House, where he handed over it to the governors of all provinces in a ceremony held before the portrait of His Majesty the King at the Santi Maitree building.

The governors are to take the royal fire to be kept in their respective provinces, ahead of the royal cremation ceremony on Oct 26.

Gen Anupong Paojinda, the interior minister, told the governors to follow the ministry’s instruction regarding the replicas of the royal crematorium and preparations to provide convenience for the people attending the ceremony.

19 Oct 2017
11:56 am

The Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) will propose the government to co-host with the private sector to buy live stream right from Infront Sports & Media in Singapore for live stream of FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia.

SAT governor Sakon Wannapong is expected to propose Deputy Prime Minister Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn today.

The move by the SAT to have Thai people watching live stream of this most popular sports event in the world came after some countries in Asia and ASEAN have already bought broadcasting rights for the FIFA World Cup 2018 from Infront Sports & Media.

The company’s Singapore office is an exclusive sales representative for the distribution of broadcast rights to the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups across 26 Asian territories including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.

The SAT has earlier proposed the government, the private sector and digital channel operators to jointly buy broadcasting right after the money needed was huge or upto US$ 35 million (1.1 billion baht). However no conclusion has been reached.

The SAT saw the option to have three parties – the governnent, the private sector and digital channel operators – as very likely citing the live broadcast of FIFA World Cup four years ago by RS Group.

It said in that broadcast the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) had subsidised RS Group 427 million baht.

In the proposal today, the SAT will ask that the state regulator NBTC subsidies 500 million baht for the right purchase of the competitions.

The SAT seeks subsidy from the NBTC because of its “Must Have” condition which digital channels must broadcast free to audience on seven programmes, including FIFA World Cup.

Such condition forced digital operators and the private sector to hesitate as such huge investment in broadcasting right but offer free on air to audience will be an investment risk because they could not make profit from the broadcast of the world football games.

19 Oct 2017
10:16 am

Celebration of the vegetarian festival this year in most popular cities across the country with large Chinese communities will be a much smaller and quieter event as it falls at exactly the same time as the royal funeral of the beloved late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The religious vegetarian festival kicks off from October 20 to 28 while the royal funeral begins October 25 to 29.

But as the vegetarian festival will begin tomorrow Friday, sign of the once colourful and lively event in the past years in most southern cities won’t be seen as people will celebrate quietly at homes in tribute to the beloved late King.

Traders also reported less sale of vegetables this year although some began to observe the celebration.

Prices of vegetables have gone up prior to the festival with most traders citing high transportation cost and massive flooding of farmlands as main reasons.

One trader at Hat Yai’s Kimyong fresh market Mrs Urai Ditsuwan said although it is now the vegetarian festival now, people still spend less than previous year.

She said vegetable prices have gone up a week before as wholesalers claimed higher transportation cost caused by massive flooding in several regions.

Chinese Kale goes up from 40-50 baht to 60 baht, Chinese cabbage from 30-40 baht to 50 baht and cabbage from 40 baht to 50 baht.

In Satun, most traders also reported quiet selling in the fresh market.

One reason is flooding which has caused vegetable transported from Bangkok to the southern cities to get rotten.

She cited example of less than half of ordered vegetables could be put on sale while the rest were rotten.

This forced her to put together all mixed vegetables and sell in one package for 20 baht.

A chicken seller at Sapsin Plaza in Singkhla, meanwhile, reported less sale of chicken from 300-400 baht to 200 kilos a day during the festival, while another butcher also said he has to order less meat to sell as people turn to vegetarian food.

18 Oct 2017
8:28 pm

Local fishermen of Trang and conservationists have been angered by the remarks made by Thanya Netithammakul, director-general of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department about dugongs and demanded his clarification.

Mr Thanya had earlier came out to say that the existence of dugongs in Thailand was under threats and the dugong population had alarmingly dropped because the rare animals had been hunted for meat, which sold at a high price, and bones, which were believed to be an aphrodisiac.

He also said the dogongs had also been hurt or killed by fishing equipment.

Mr Thanya’s remarks have reportedly dissatisfied Trang governor and also angered conservationists who have worked for the conservation of dugongs.

The conservationists said that Trang is the only province which has taken serious measures to conserve dugongs. What Mr Thanya said has caused damage to the province, they claimed.

The network of local fishermen disagreed with Mr Thanya’s remarks that dugongs had been hunted for sales in the black market and that their meat was good for food, their bones had aphrodisiac properties and their teeth could be used as amulets.

They also raised an objection to Mr Thanya’s remark that these had caused the dogong population to have reduced to fewer than 200.

The fishermen said Mr Thanya got this information from his subordinates without checking whether it was true or not.

They claimed that, according to academic statistics, the dugong population has continued to increased in the sea of Trang, from about 120 in he past to about 200 this year.

18 Oct 2017
2:43 pm

The Civil Court today (Oct 18) ordered Thai Aviation Industries and it’s sling deployment staff to jointly pay 2.75 million baht compensation to the family of a police cadet who was killed in a parachute mishap during a drill in Cha-am in Phetchaburi in April 2014.

The court’s ruling came after it found the company and it’s technical staff deployed substandard sling on the aircraft’s parachuting system.

Thai Aviation Industries are among nine defendants sued by the cadet’s father Sathorn Phutchaiyong last year after his 19-year-old son, a police cadet, died in the mishap. He demanded 40-million baht in compensation for his son’s death.

However the Civil Court dropped charges against seven other defendants which included Thai Airways International with reasons that they were not involvd in the mishap, and ordered a compensation payment of only 2.75 million baht, plus a 7.5.% interest year.

But the father said he would petition the first court ruling particularly a reason given by the court that it was also his son’s fault for not pulling the reserve parachute although he had been on the drill for three months.

In the parachute drill, two police cadets plunged to their death after an accident in a parachute drill in Cha-am in Phetchaburi on March 31, 2014

Dead at the scene were Chayakorn Phutchaiyong, 19, and Nattawut Tirasuwannasuk, 21.

Witnesses said the victims were among the first lot of people to jump out of the aircraft, which was about 1 km above the ground at the Rama VI camp.

Among the witnesses were Chayakorn’s parents.

18 Oct 2017
2:20 pm

The procurement of 1,400 CCTV security system cameras worth 196 million baht by provincial administration in Nakhon Si Thammarat province is turning fishy after alleged mal-practices are detected.

Thai PBS is investigating the deal and has detected several unusual practices in such procurement of such security system.

Such irregularities include higher median prices and winning supplier is new comer in the security system deployment.

The provincial administration’s approval of the budget to procure the security system with reason of rising crime rates and traffic accidents in the province.

It agreed to deploy 1,402 CCTV cameras in 251 locations under the responsible areas of 32 police stations in the whole province.

Invstigation by Thai PBS showed three significant changes in the procurement project from the original scheme.

Increasing CCTV cameras from 1,302 to 1,402; changing wireless camera system to cabling system.

Median prices for fibre optic cable are unusually fixed higher from 20 baht for a metre of 12-axial cable to 54 baht.

Such unsual practice has resulted in the median price for a kilometre of cable to jump to 54,000 baht from 20,000 baht at market price.

A total of 660 kilometres of cable was procured for the project or amounted to 35.6 million baht.

Further investigation also showed that the winning firm, PKT Engineering, is located in Narathiwat province and was registered with the Business Development Department with initial registered capital of 5 million baht. It has only one director.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission’s website also revealed the company had in the past awarded two government contracts related to LED lighting. The CCTV project in Nakhon Si Thammarat is the company’s first huge project that is worth almost 200 million baht.

Executives of the firm were not available for comments after Thai PBS visited it’s head office for information.

18 Oct 2017
1:05 pm

A reservoir in Khok Samrong district of Lop Buri province burst before dawn Wednesday (Oct 18) spilling out water to inundate at least 200 rai of farmland in the district.

Excessive water caused a section of Nong Sano reservoir’s soil embankment to break down at 4am, releasing large amount of water to inundate nearby farmland.

Nong Sano reservoir, which is located in the compound of Kasetsart University’s Lop Buri campus, has a total capacity of 600,000 cubic metre. About 300,000 cubic metre has drained out of the reservoir through the damaged embankment, according to the Royal Irrigation Department.

 

More than 200 rai of farmland has been inundated under 40-100 centimetres of water.

Fortunately the vicinity of the reservoir is mostly farmland and there in no residential area in the area. However, residents in downstream area have been told to move their belongings to higher ground.

The soil embankment of the reservoir was broken apart by 15 metres. Irrigation officials are now racing with time to fix the break as rainfall could deteriorate the situation.

Over 200 rai of farmland inundated after reservoir embankment broke. http://bit.ly/2kXC8AM #ThaiPBSenglish

Posted by Thai PBS English News on Wednesday, 18 October 2017

 

18 Oct 2017
11:37 am

Cigarette butts are still littering the beach at Cha-am but lesser than previously, officials of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources said.

The survey of Cha-am beach was conducted during October 16-17 after a pilot project of smoking ban was first introduced here before the planned inposition of smoking ban on 20 beaches next month.

From the two-day inspection of the Cha-am beach in Phetburi province, cigarette butts could still be found on the beach, but dropped by 0.62 butt in a square metre of space.

Under the smoking ban to be imposed on 20 beaches in November, smokers are asked to discard of their cigarettes on bins before going out to the beach to swim.

The smoking ban on the beaches is introduced after recent survey showed cigarette packages and filters constitute the most garbage on the beaches.

In Thailand, more than 100 million discarded cigarette butts are littered daily on the roads. The cigarette butts block drain pipes. In water, they release toxic chemical substances such as cadmium, lead, arsenic and others which are poisonous to the food chain.

Officials are planning to make smoking on the beaches a permanent ban after it is announced in the Royal Gazette.

Violater faces one-year imprisonment or a fine of not more than 100,000 baht or facing both.

Officials also collected cigarette butts from 10 locations on Hua Hin and Khao Ta Kieb beaches, with each location 200 metres apart to compile a report for references before making the ban a law.

The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources plans to impose a smoking ban at 20 beaches in November after all of the country’s beaches are found to have been littered with large quantities of cigarette butts.

Earlier Jatuporn Burussapat, the director-general of the department, said that in a recent survey of Pa Tong beach, Phuket, conducted by the department’s research and development centre, an average of 130,000 cigarette butts were found on every 2.5-kilometre stretch of the beach.

18 Oct 2017
10:43 am

Park rangers and veterinarians are on Wednesday morning (Oct 18) trying to rescue a 10-year-old wild elephant after it was swept away and trapped in strong current of a canal at Thung Salaeng Luang national park in Noen Maplang district of Phitsanulok province.

The elephant was stranded in the Klong Chompoo canal since yesterday and until today it is still in the water.

Yesterday park officials used a heavy machinery to level the slope of the bank so it could walk out. However it was too exhausted and was unable to make it to the bank.

Veterinarian Dusita Chincharoendee of the Phitsanulok-based Management and Conservation Office said another effort will be launched again to rescue the elephant this morning.

She said that normally wild elephant has great sense of smell. It will raise its trunk to smell the air and detect the smell.

If it smells human beings around, it will be frightened and excited.

She asked villagers to stay a distance so as to make it calm as rescue effort is to begin throughout the day today.

She said when there is no human being around, she would use sound to stimulate it to climb out of the water. But if this fails, a large net may be used to pull it out of the water.

She also advised people to stay away from wild animal and never bother it as it is dangerous and may cause injury or death.

18 Oct 2017
10:42 am

The Marine and Coastal Resources Department plans to launch a new survey on the dugong population between December 2016 and February 2017 as the number of dugongs has reduced to around 200-250 since they have been decimated by hunting and fishing equipment, apart from the loss of their habitats.

Thanya Nethithammakul, chief of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, said dugongs are now under serious threats because their seagrass habitats have lost fertility.  Moreover, they have been decimated by fishing equipment and hunting.

 

It is now believed there are no more than 200 dugongs in the Thai waters.  Most of them, 130-150, are found in Hat Chao Mai National Marine Park and Mu Ko Libong Non Hunting Area in Trang province where seagrass is still fertile.  Moreover, about 15 are found around Ko Samet islands of Rayong and some areas in Chon Buri, Chanthaburi and Trat provinces, and about 10 others in the Chaiya Bay of Surat Thani.

 

Mr Thanya said there are still groups of hunters with a false belief that dugong bones can be made medicine for energy and cancer, their teeths can be made amulets and their meat, which costs about 150 baht per kilogramme, can be food.  Therefore, dugongs are still in demand in the black market.

 

Government agencies are required to educate the people that this belief is groundless.

 

Kongkiat Kittiwattanawong, director of the marine and coastal resources research and development centre of the Marine and Coastal Resources Department, said satellite signal tags were attached three dugongs in Hat Chao Mai National Marine Mark in Trang in April to monitor their movements to know their habitats for serious conservation.

 

Officials will be sent to conduct a survey for the exact number of dugongs between December 2017 and February 2018, he said.

 

The average lifespan of dugongs is 70 years. Their period of pregnancy is 13-18 months.  A female dugong gives birth to one offspring at a time and once in three years.

 

If without any disturbance, a female dogong gives births to about 10 babies throughout the 70 years of its life.  Therefore, the dogong population is minimal.